Inspectors find pests in imported pumpkin shipment

Inspectors find pests in imported pumpkin shipment

Pumpkins can be carved into scary jack-o-lanterns this time of the year, but there’s something scarier when it comes to imported pumpkins: invasive species.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agricultural specialists recently intercepted flower longhorn beetles in a shipment of pumpkins from Costa Rica.

During an inspection October 4, CBP agriculture specialists discovered seven larvae boring through wood packaging material protecting the pumpkins and submitted the specimens to the U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist. The entomologist identified the larvae as belonging in the subfamily Lepturinae, or flower longhorn beetles.

The adult beetles are considered pollinators, but while in their larvae stage they bore beneath a tree’s bark, potentially damage healthy trees.

The importer chose to re-export the pumpkins and wood packaging material instead of destroying the shipment.
On an average day in 2018, CBP agriculture specialists seized 4,552 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproducts and soil, and intercepted 319 insect pests at ports of entry.

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